A few years ago, my psychiatrist recommended a list of books that may help me to develop some necessary tools for mental well-being. This is known as bibliotherapy and can be very helpful for people, especially with mild and moderate anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Although my symptoms of bipolar were more pronounced, I thought it would be a good idea to follow the doc’s advice and to see what happens.
It got me thinking on the importance of spiritual guidance in my life. It struck me that a parallel can be drawn between my psychiatrist prescribing medication for balancing moods and my spiritual guide ‘prescribing’ inspirational reading to promote fullness of life. Continue reading
Referring to a point I made previously in my blogpost, Mentally healthy, someone with bipolar and someone without bipolar can actually be at the same point on the mental health continuum. I noted a range of experiences from distress (bad stress) to eustress (good stress) that can occur all in one day. I update this thought in accordance with models of stress to say that there can be a wider range still.
On a continuum from left to right a person experiences boredom when there is a low level of stress and low level of performance, eustress when there is a moderate level of stress and high level of performance, and distress when there is a high level of stress and low level of performance. Again, someone with bipolar and someone without bipolar can be on the same point of this continuum. Continue reading
I have realised lately that to maintain our energy and purpose in life we need to be aware of who we are speaking to. If someone attacks us all of a sudden, addressing our perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities, it is good to ask ourselves: “How big is the piece of wood in the other’s eye when they are pointing out the piece of wood in our own?” We see things more clearly, for example, when we pick up on any hypocrisy and we can let go of any self-criticism. We can keep our lamps burning brightly and embrace the positive energy of the world.
During meditation this morning I opened my eyes for a moment and saw a small bird perch onto the potted flowers next to the window. It stopped, and looked in the direction of me who was behind the other side of the window in the living room.
I quietened my breathing and remained still so that I wouldn’t frighten it away. After a turn of its head it flew its little body into the window a couple of feet away, and after the collision it flew back in the opposite direction onto the ground below. Continue reading
We all have a need to ponder, to pause, to reflect, to notice. It is in our blood as human beings. I mean, how human would we be if we were constantly going from A to B to C without resting in the depth of our hearts?
About ten years ago I was walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain with a couple of companions I met along the way. They both stopped and started to gaze at something in the woods. I was baffled and asked them what they were looking at. They told me they were looking at the light around the trees. I laughed out loud and mocked them because to me it was just light and trees. Continue reading
“If you want a strong body, you go. If you want a strong mind, you stop.”
I learned something about rambunctious behaviour recently from my ‘happy’ Irish-Canadian cousin Conor and how it can negatively influence my moods. Upon my request, he reflected that I dipped in mood after I stayed out too long partying with his friends. Later, I noticed a similar pattern when I hung out with some people in Dublin City. I think it is good for people with bipolar (and others) to acknowledge when they have reached their limit, e.g., amid a rowdy atmosphere at a pub or nightclub and to walk home and walk tall. It is the way of a balanced life. Continue reading
The Bursting out in Praise Triangle, based on research and reflection, is an easy to understand model of spirituality and mental health. As displayed, the development of the external triangles – Interdependence, Universal Good and Balanced Mood – lead to the realisation of the internal triangle – ‘Bursting out in Praise’, which is short for ‘Bursting out in Praise in the midst of Pain or Suffering’.
We develop interdependence with one another and the world: by meditating on a regular basis, spending time with people and being immersed in nature. The universal good is about working for one another and the world: giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives, using our talents for the benefit of others and helping to build up our communities. We experience balanced mood in ourselves: by humbly accepting our lives’ circumstances, embracing the life-giving power of hope and mindfully returning to the present moment. Continue reading